Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hobbs v. Massasoit Whip Co. case brief

Hobbs v. Massasoit Whip Co. case brief summary
33 N.E. 495 (Mass. 1893)

Plaintiff brought an action in contract against defendant, a whip company, upon an account annexed for certain sums for eel skins sold by plaintiff to defendant. At the trial the jury returned a verdict for plaintiff and defendant alleged exceptions.

Plaintiff testified that, as in previous sales, he delivered the skins in question to an individual who forwarded them to defendant. The action was initiated when plaintiff was not paid for the eel skins and defendant kept them for some months until they were destroyed.


  • The court held that it was taken that plaintiff received no notice that defendant declined to accept the skins. 
  • The case was before the court on exceptions to an instruction to the jury which stated that plaintiff was warranted in sending the company skins conforming to the requirements, and even if the offer was not such that the contract was made as soon as skins corresponding to its terms were sent, sending them imposed on the company a duty to act about them. 
  • Silence on the company's part, coupled with a retention of the skins for an unreasonable time, could be found by the jury to warrant plaintiff in assuming that they were accepted, and thus to amount to an acceptance. 
  • The court held that conduct importing acceptance, the retention of the skins, was acceptance in the view of the law and the jury instruction was warranted.

The judgment was affirmed and the exceptions were overruled.

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